It seems like everyone is trying to sell you something on the internet these days. That can make it difficult to find good free software.
Today, I’m going to help you protect your PC using the best free software 2015 has to offer. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your PC safe with the latest tools, technology, and software:
Consider Switching to a Standard Windows Account
One of the best under-used security tricks for Windows is to switch to a Standard account instead of the default Administrator account.
Standard accounts can’t perform certain tasks without admin permission. They can’t install software, for example.
They also limit the damage you do if something goes bad.
Many security experts recommend making an admin account, keeping that admin account clean, and then use a Standard account for your day-to-day usage. That way, if something goes wrong, it won’t compromise your entire computer.
You don’t have to start a brand new account to do this. All you have to do is follow these steps to switch your existing account over:
Step 1) Create a new admin account
Step 2) Login to that account
Step 3) Go to the Control Panel
Step 4) Click Change account type
Step 5) Click on your original Administrator account, and change that type to Standard
Boom! You can now do significantly less damage to your PC on a Standard account. Now, whenever you need to install something, you’ll need to enter the admin password of the second account – which can help you avoid suddenly installing unwanted malware.
EMET is one of the best free tools available for Windows. It was made by Microsoft and stands for Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit 5.2
It works in a different way to traditional antivirus software: EMET protects you against zero-day vulnerabilities commonly used by malware authors. It’s particularly good at spotting applications that have bypassed Windows built-in security features, like the UAC.
EMET is nice because you can set it and forget it. You can choose to run it under Maximum security settings, but most people will be happy with Recommended settings. Under Recommended settings, the software should rarely bug you unless there’s a serious problem.
Automatic Software Updates
The best free tools you can use to improve your PC security are the automatic software updates you get with all of your apps and software. Today, most software updates itself automatically.
But some of us ignore the automatic updates. How many times have you opened VLC Media Player and ignored a new update notification?
These updates aren’t just cosmetic: they’re often used to protect against recently-discovered security threats. Take the time right now to open all your most-used programs and check for updates. Install the updates and try to repeat this process once per month.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you to buy anti-malware software. This is an article about free stuff, after all.
With that in mind, here are the three best anti-malware tools available for free today:
Avira used to be an annoying free anti-malware program, always bugging you with daily pop-ups and intrusive notifications.
Thankfully, Avira has changed its tune, and the notification pop-ups only ever appear by your system tray.
Avira is made by a German company. It regularly ranks near the top of the charts in terms of free and paid antivirus protection.
If you don’t like Avira, then Malwarebytes is the next best free solution. The major restriction with Malwarebytes is that it doesn’t have automatic live scanning: you need to manually scan your PC to check it for malware (this is only in the free version).
If you remember to scan once per week, then you should be fine. Malwarebytes also ranks near the top of the charts in terms of virus protection and effectiveness.
PC Cleaner Pro 2015
PC Cleaner Pro is free to scan your PC, although you’ll need to pay to fix those errors (if any appear).
The new version of PC Cleaner Pro 2015 is an effective analysis tool. If you don’t want to pay the registration fee ($29.95) then that’s fine. Just use it to scan your PC and see if there’s any major problems you need to worry about.
Download your free scan of PC Cleaner Pro 2015 here.
If you’re looking for web-based protection, then Google Chrome should be your first line of defense. The only reason it’s not the world’s most popular web browser is because Internet Explorer comes pre-installed on all Windows PCs.
Chrome has powerful security features that many of us overlook. That includes a strong sandbox system that isolates every tab and extension into its own process.
Yes, this is why Chrome uses a ridiculous amount of RAM and CPU at times. Nevertheless, it gives users a huge advantage. If a website tries to attack your PC, it won’t be able to do much damage.
HTTPS Everywhere is a free tool that forces websites to use HTTPS whenever possible. It’s currently available in Chrome, Firefox, Firefox for Android, and Opera.
The tool was made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group devoted to protecting privacy online.
You should never be sending personal information over an unsecured http connection. Use HTTPS Everywhere to use a secure connection as often as possible.
Download HTTPS Everywhere for free today from here: https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere
WOT is a crowdsourced tool that collects thousands of ratings to determine how secure a particular website may be.
People rate a website based on its security and its suitability for children. Most sites will have a green rating, but every once in a while you’ll stumble across a site with a dangerous red rating.
WOT will warn you when you’re attempting to access a site that may not be safe. If you spend a lot of time on sleazy websites and are worried about your computer’s security, WOT is a good solution.